Text: H.R.1398 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

There is one version of the bill.

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (03/07/2017)


115th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 1398


To provide funds to give States incentives to invest in practices and technology designed to expedite voting at the polls and simplify voter registration, improve voting system security, and promote automatic voter registration, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 7, 2017

Mr. Connolly (for himself and Mr. Langevin) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on House Administration


A BILL

To provide funds to give States incentives to invest in practices and technology designed to expedite voting at the polls and simplify voter registration, improve voting system security, and promote automatic voter registration, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title; table of contents.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “Fair, Accurate, Secure, and Timely Voting Act of 2017” or the “FAST Voting Act of 2017”.

(b) Table of contents.—The table of contents of this Act is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 101. Incentives for States to invest in practices and technology designed to expedite voting at the polls and simplify voter registration.

Sec. 102. Criteria for awarding grants.

Sec. 103. Criteria for evaluating applications.

Sec. 104. Authorization of appropriations.

Sec. 201. Incentives for States to improve voting system security.

Sec. 202. Criteria for awarding grants.

Sec. 203. Criteria for evaluating applications.

Sec. 204. Authorization of appropriations.

Sec. 301. Incentives for States to implement automatic voter registration.

Sec. 302. Applications.

Sec. 303. Authorization of appropriations.

Sec. 401. Establishment of performance measures and targets.

Sec. 402. Reporting requirements.

Sec. 403. State defined.

SEC. 101. Incentives for States to invest in practices and technology designed to expedite voting at the polls and simplify voter registration.

(a) Grants authorized.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—From the amounts made available under section 104 for a fiscal year and not reserved under section (b) of section 104, the Election Assistance Commission (hereafter in this title referred to as the “Commission”) shall award grants, on a competitive basis, to States in accordance with section 103.

(2) NUMBER OF GRANTS.—A State may not receive more than 1 grant under this section per grant period.

(3) DURATION OF GRANTS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—A grant under this section shall be awarded for a period of not more than 4 years.

(B) CONTINUATION OF GRANTS.—A State that is awarded a grant under this section shall not receive grant funds under this section for the second or any subsequent year of the grant unless the State demonstrates to the Commission, at such time and in such manner as determined by the Commission, that the State is—

(i) making progress in implementing the grant implementation plan described in section 102(b) at a rate that the Commission determines will result in the State fully implementing such plan during the remainder of the grant period; or

(ii) making progress against the performance measures established under section 401 at a rate that the Commission determines will result in the State reaching its targets and achieving the objectives of the grant during the remainder of the grant period.

(b) Use of funds.—Each State that receives a grant under this title shall use the funds provided by the grant to carry out the State's grant implementation plan described in section 102(b).

SEC. 102. Criteria for awarding grants.

(a) Applications.—Each State that desires to receive a grant under this title shall submit an application to the Commission at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Commission may reasonably require. At a minimum, each such application shall include each of the following:

(1) A documentation of the State’s record in carrying out the following in the administration of elections for public office:

(A) Providing various voter registration opportunities and record of providing electronic transfer of voter registration information from government agencies to election officials.

(B) Providing early voting.

(C) Providing absentee voting.

(D) Providing assistance to voters who do not speak English as a primary language.

(E) Providing assistance to voters with disabilities at and beyond the level required by Federal law.

(F) Providing effective access to voting for members of the uniformed services at and beyond the level required by Federal law.

(G) Providing formal training of election officials.

(H) Auditing waiting times at polling places.

(I) Allocating polling locations, equipment, and staff to match population distribution.

(J) Responding to voting irregularities and concerns raised at polling stations.

(K) Creating and adhering to contingency voting plans in the event of a natural or other disaster.

(L) Any other performance measure established under section 401 in providing various voter registration opportunities.

(2) Evidence of established conditions of innovation and reform in the administration of elections for public office in the State and the State’s proposed plan for implementing additional conditions.

(3) Evidence of collaboration between relevant stakeholders in developing the grant implementation plan described in subsection (b).

(4) Annual performance measures and targets for the activities carried out with the grant.

(5) A description of the State’s plan to conduct a rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of the activities carried out with the grant.

(6) The grant implementation plan described in subsection (b).

(b) Grant implementation plan.—The grant implementation plan described in this subsection is a plan developed by the State for using funds provided by the grant to improve the State’s performance on the performance measures established under section 401, including how the State will carry out some or all of the following:

(1) Providing flexible registration opportunities, including online and same-day registration and registration updating.

(2) Providing early voting, at a minimum of 9 of the 10 calendar days preceding an election, at sufficient and flexible hours.

(3) Providing absentee voting, including no-excuse absentee voting.

(4) Providing assistance to voters who do not speak English as a primary language beyond the minimum requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

(5) Providing assistance to voters with disabilities, including visual impairment, at and beyond the level required by Federal law.

(6) Providing effective access to voting for members of the uniformed services at and beyond the level required by Federal law.

(7) Providing formal training of election officials, including State and county administrators and volunteers.

(8) Auditing and reducing waiting times at polling places.

(9) Allocating polling locations, equipment, and staff to match population distribution.

(10) Responding to any reports of voting irregularities or concerns raised at polling places.

(11) Creating contingency voting plans in the event of natural or other disaster.

(12) Improving the wait times at the persistently poorest performing polling stations.

SEC. 103. Criteria for evaluating applications.

(a) Award basis.—The Commission shall award grants to States under this title on a competitive basis, based on the quality of the State’s application submitted under section 102, including—

(1) the State’s record in the areas described in paragraph (1) of section 102(a);

(2) the State’s record of, and commitment to, establishing conditions for innovation and reform, as described in paragraph (2) of section 102(a);

(3) the quality and likelihood of success of the State’s grant implementation plan described in section 102(b) in showing improvement in the areas described in paragraph (1) of section 102(a), including the State’s capacity to implement the plan and evidence of collaboration as described in paragraph (3) of section 102(a); and

(4) the State’s evaluation plan as described in paragraph (5) of section 102(a).

(b) Explanation.—The Commission shall publish an explanation of how the application review process under this paragraph will ensure an equitable and objective evaluation based on the criteria described in subsection (a).

SEC. 104. Authorization of appropriations.

(a) In general.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2017 and each succeeding fiscal year to carry out this title.

(b) Reservation of funds.—From the amount made available to carry out this title for a fiscal year, the Commission may reserve not more than 10 percent of such amount to carry out activities related to—

(1) technical assistance; and

(2) outreach and dissemination.

SEC. 201. Incentives for States to improve voting system security.

(a) Grants authorized.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—From the amounts made available under section 204 for a fiscal year and not reserved under section (b) of section 204, the Election Assistance Commission (hereafter in this title referred to as the “Commission”) shall award grants, on a competitive basis, to States in accordance with section 203.

(2) NUMBER OF GRANTS.—A State may not receive more than 1 grant under this section per grant period.

(3) DURATION OF GRANTS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—A grant under this section shall be awarded for a period of not more than 4 years.

(B) CONTINUATION OF GRANTS.—A State that is awarded a grant under this section shall not receive grant funds under this section for the second or any subsequent year of the grant unless the State demonstrates to the Commission, at such time and in such manner as determined by the Commission, that the State is—

(i) making progress in implementing the grant implementation plan described in section 202(b) at a rate that the Commission determines will result in the State fully implementing such plan during the remainder of the grant period; or

(ii) making progress against the performance measures established under section 401 at a rate that the Commission determines will result in the State reaching its targets and achieving the objectives of the grant during the remainder of the grant period.

(b) Use of funds.—Each State that receives a grant under this title shall use the funds provided by the grant to carry out the State's grant implementation plan described in section 202(b).

SEC. 202. Criteria for awarding grants.

(a) Applications.—Each State that desires to receive a grant under this title shall submit an application to the Commission at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Commission may reasonably require. At a minimum, each such application shall include each of the following:

(1) A documentation of the State’s record in carrying out the following in the administration of elections for public office:

(A) Providing voting machines that are less than 10 years old.

(B) Providing voting equipment that generates a verifiable paper trail at polling places.

(C) Implementing strong chain of custody procedures for the physical security of voting equipment and paper records at all stages of the process.

(D) Conducting pre-election testing on every voting machine and ensuring that paper ballots are available wherever electronic machines are used.

(E) Mandating post-election risk-limiting audits to confirm the validity of electronic results.

(F) Keeping offline backups of voter registration lists.

(G) Providing a secure voter registration database that logs requests submitted to the database.

(H) Publishing and enforcing a policy detailing use limitations and security safeguards to protect voters’ personal information in the voter registration process.

(I) Providing secure processes and procedures for reporting vote tallies.

(J) Providing a secure platform for disseminating vote totals.

(K) Any other performance measure established under section 401 in providing voting system security.

(2) Evidence of established conditions of innovation and reform in providing voting system security and the State’s proposed plan for implementing additional conditions.

(3) Evidence of collaboration between relevant stakeholders in developing the grant implementation plan described in subsection (b).

(4) Annual performance measures and targets for the activities carried out with the grant.

(5) A description of the State’s plan to conduct a rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of the activities carried out with the grant.

(6) The grant implementation plan described in subsection (b).

(b) Grant implementation plan.—The grant implementation plan described in this subsection is a plan developed by the State for using funds provided by the grant to improve the State’s performance on the performance measures established under section 401, including how the State will carry out some or all of the following:

(1) Providing voting machines that are less than 10 years old.

(2) Updating voting equipment to provide a verifiable paper trail at polling stations.

(3) Implementing strong chain of custody procedures for the physical security of voting equipment and paper records at all stages of the process.

(4) Conducting pre-election testing on every voting machine and ensuring paper ballots are available wherever electronic machines are used.

(5) Mandating post-election risk-limiting audits to confirm the validity of electronic results.

(6) Keeping offline backups of voter registration lists.

(7) Providing a secure voter registration database that logs requests submitted to the database.

(8) Publishing and enforcing a policy detailing use limitations and security safeguards to protect voters’ personal information in the voter registration process.

(9) Providing secure processes and procedures for reporting vote tallies.

(10) Providing a secure platform for disseminating vote totals.

SEC. 203. Criteria for evaluating applications.

(a) Award basis.—The Commission shall award grants to States under this title on a competitive basis, based on the quality of the State’s application submitted under section 202, including—

(1) the State’s record in the areas described in paragraph (1) of section 202(a);

(2) the State’s record of, and commitment to, establishing conditions for innovation and reform, as described in paragraph (2) of section 202(a);

(3) the quality and likelihood of success of the State’s grant implementation plan described in section 202(b) in showing improvement in the areas described in paragraph (1) of section 202(a), including the State’s capacity to implement the plan and evidence of collaboration as described in paragraph (3) of section 202(a); and

(4) the State’s evaluation plan as described in paragraph (5) of section 202(a).

(b) Explanation.—The Commission shall publish an explanation of how the application review process under this paragraph will ensure an equitable and objective evaluation based on the criteria described in subsection (a).

SEC. 204. Authorization of appropriations.

(a) In general.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2017 and each succeeding fiscal year to carry out this title.

(b) Reservation of funds.—From the amount made available to carry out this title for a fiscal year, the Commission may reserve not more than 10 percent of such amount to carry out activities related to—

(1) technical assistance; and

(2) outreach and dissemination.

SEC. 301. Incentives for States to implement automatic voter registration.

(a) Grants authorized.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—From the amounts made available under section 303 for a fiscal year and not reserved under section (b) of section 303, the Election Assistance Commission (hereafter in this title referred to as the “Commission”) shall award grants, on a competitive basis, to States in accordance with section 302.

(2) NUMBER OF GRANTS.—A State may not receive more than 1 grant under this section per grant period.

(3) DURATION OF GRANTS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—A grant under this section shall be awarded for a period of not more than 4 years.

(B) CONTINUATION OF GRANTS.—A State that is awarded a grant under this section shall not receive grant funds under this section for the second or any subsequent year of the grant unless the State demonstrates to the Commission, at such time and in such manner as determined by the Commission, that the State is—

(i) making progress in implementing the plan for the implementation of automatic voter registration in the State, as described in section 302(c), at a rate that the Commission determines will result in the State fully implementing such plan during the remainder of the grant period; or

(ii) making progress against the performance measures established under section 401 at a rate that the Commission determines will result in the State reaching its targets and achieving the objectives of the grant during the remainder of the grant period.

(b) Use of funds.—Each State that receives a grant under this title shall use the funds provided by the grant to carry out the State’s plan for the implementation of automatic voter registration in the State, as described in section 302(c).

SEC. 302. Applications.

(a) In general.—Each State that desires to receive a grant under this title shall submit an application to the Commission at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Commission may reasonably require. At a minimum, each such application shall include the following:

(1) A detailed plan for the implementation of automatic voter registration in the State.

(2) Annual performance measures and targets for the activities carried out with the grant.

(3) A description of the State’s plan to conduct a rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of the activities carried out with the grant.

(b) Selection of recipients.—The Commission shall award grants to States under this title on a competitive basis, based on the quality of the State’s application submitted under subsection (a).

(c) Automatic voter registration described.—In this title, “automatic voter registration” means a system under which a State registers individuals to vote in elections for Federal office who are eligible to vote in such elections by electronically transferring the information necessary for registration from government agencies to election officials of the State so that, unless the individual affirmatively declines to be registered, the individual will be registered to vote in such elections.

SEC. 303. Authorization of appropriations.

(a) In general.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2017 and each succeeding fiscal year to carry out this title.

(b) Reservation of funds.—From the amount made available to carry out this title for a fiscal year, the Commission may reserve not more than 10 percent of such amount to carry out activities related to—

(1) technical assistance; and

(2) outreach and dissemination.

SEC. 401. Establishment of performance measures and targets.

Each State receiving a grant under this Act shall establish performance measures and targets, approved by the Election Assistance Commission (hereafter in this title referred to as the “Commission”), for the programs and activities carried out with the funds provided by the grant.

SEC. 402. Reporting requirements.

Each State receiving a grant under this Act shall submit to the Commission, at such time and in such manner as the Commission may require, an annual report including—

(1) data on the State’s progress in achieving the targets for the performance measures established under section 401;

(2) a description of the challenges the State has faced in implementing the programs and activities funded by the grant and how it has addressed or plans to address those challenges; and

(3) findings from the evaluation plan for the grant.

SEC. 403. State defined.

In this Act, the term “State” means each of the several States and the District of Columbia.